Picross 3D Review: Block The Monkey

The follow-up to the incredibly addictive puzzle game Picross DS, Picross 3D moves the picture finding gameplay into the next dimension, a game of block breaking and brain teasing that's also one of the best Nintendo DS games of the year.

Instead of presenting the player with a blank canvas and numbered clues with which a player must study to draw a simple, pixelated picture, Picross 3D hands the player a giant block from which to carve a 3D model. Numbers on the side of each remaining cube inform the player how many blocks must remain in each row or column. Smash the rest to discover what's underneath. Each hidden treasure is simple and abstract, a collection of ultra low fidelity 3D representations of dogs, scissors, breakdancers, pianos, hot air balloons and hundreds of other items.

Picross 3D is a game about paying attention, thinking logically to determine your next carving spot, and mostly about being awesome.

Loved
Thinking, Moving, Breaking In 3D: Negotiating the blocky, three-dimensional puzzles of Picross 3D is largely simple and straightforward, thanks to the Nintendo DS's touchscreen interface. Repositioning and slicing into the 3D slab is a breeze, made easier by the ever helpful tutorial shining with Nintendo polish. The occasional control quirk will pop up—I've foolishly broken blocks where I shouldn't have, thanks to an easy mistake made in haste—but, from a technical perspective, playing Picross 3D is a delight.

A Challenge For The Picross Vet: While not damningly hard, as far as the nonograms in the original Picross DS go, the three-dimensional spin on digging out the hidden images will tickle a different part of the brain. Picross 3D also spices things up with a few variations on standard puzzle-solving play, throwing time-based challenges and levels that won't forgive a single mistake. The constantly running timer is both annoying and welcome, from a personal challenge standpoint.

My Picross On The DL: Already packed with more than 365 puzzles, the promise of new, free downloadable puzzles over the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection means players can enjoy up to 600 Picross 3D levels. The same was true of Picross DS, but considering the paltry $19.99 USD asking price, the continued flow of updates is still welcome.

Puzzles, Puzzles, Puzzles, Etc: Did I mention the staggering level of content in this game? Some challenges will take the player less than a minute, if not mere seconds, but I've already logged a good 15 hours with the game and I'm only halfway done with the built-in content.

Now You're Thinking With Cubes: Building your own Picross 3D creations is simple, in part due to Duplo block levels of detail, but also because the construction interface is so smartly designed. It uses the same input method that one uses when cracking their way through puzzles, making it immediately intuitive.

For the nonogram fan or the Picross DS enthusiast hungry for more, Picross 3D is an easy recommendation. It's dirt cheap at just $19.99 USD. It's also fiendishly clever at times, a fantastic opportunity to waste hours of one's life discovering what remains hidden underneath the gray mass of cubes. Some nonogram experts may find the challenges herein a touch too easy, but worry not that Picross 3D has been simplified too much in the name of dimensional expansion. Consider it as your next impulse purchase, the perfect side salad for your next game buying meal.

Picross 3D was developed by HAL Laboratory and published by Nintendo for the Nintendo on May 3. Retails for $19.99 USD. A copy of the game was given to us by the publisher for reviewing purposes. Played more than 180 puzzles, created a handful of original Picross 3D puzzles.

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